Glastonbury Moors and Wildlife

The low-lying moors around the Glastonbury area - properly known as the Somerset Levels - are an enchanting backwater of tiny roads (known as droves), wide, lazy-flowing drainage canals (known as rhynes) and isolated, picturesque hamlets.

There is really no other landscape in Britain like the moors, with their wealth of wildlife, Arthurian connections and mysterious mounds of peat looming up from snooker-table flat fields and beds of withies.

They are a great place to cycle. Pedal along the willow-lined lanes and find some little traditional pub for a local ale or cider. Or go for a ramble and see hares, weasels, hedgehogs and maybe even the odd otter dart around the fields. Watch majestic herons rise from out the moorland gloom or see a mighty buzzard hover overhead.

Westhay Nature Reserve hosts great flocks of starlings, whose return to roost among the reed beds creates a natural spectacle almost without parallel in Europe.

This sparsely-populated part of Somerset has unsurprisingly been part of many legends; King Arthur was said to have ranged around here and the mighty oaks Gog and Magog stand on the moorland outside Glastonbury, reputedly part of an avenue of trees leading to the Tor which was planted 2000 years ago.

In more recent times, King Alfred is said to have taken refuge on the Somerset moors – and had his cake-related mishap here! Whilst near Westhay you can see the ancient Sweet Track, Britain’s oldest road, built on a timber-base 6,000 years ago and perhaps still being used in 250bc when a lake village was founded just outside Glastonbury. Its foundations can still be viewed today.